WFA Global Media Charter: Updates and Results
Oct 10, 2019 | by Stefanos Charalampous
Who is WFA and who created this Global Media Charter?
WFA stands for the World Federation of Advertisers and it’s an organization with a primary focus on the common interests of the marketers.
During June 2018, WFA released a full version of the Global Media Charter to reform the digital ad ecosystem to point out the main issues advertisers have to face in digital media every day. The aim of this Charter, however, is not to solve all issues that currently exist in the digital media world, but it aims to be the beginning of what will hopefully be a full cycle of changes in regards to the needs of media investors and the advertisers. According to the official website of WFA, this Charter is meant to codify the needs of said investors.
Why was it created?
The advertising industry is constantly changing, however, it is not happening at the pace many clients would prefer. In order to meet the demands of clients and global advertisers to reform the digital ad ecosystem, which includes areas of transparency, brand safety, and ad fraud, WFA has decided to release this Global Media Charter.
We will analyze and summarize each proposal made by WFA and seeing that some time has passed since the Charter’s release, we will dive into reviews and opinions focusing on the results it’s had and then move onto our conclusions. The full document of WFA can be found at www.wfanet.org/mediacharter.
The 8 Proposals by the WFA Global Media Charter (with a short explanatory summary for each):
1) Zero Tolerance of Ad Fraud: Despite measures being taken to protect consumers from Ad Fraud, this is still a big issue of the digital market. The proposed solution is that once an investment is identified as fraud or that is associated with invalid or non-human trafficking, an immediate refund should be issued.
2) Strict Brand Safety Protection: Advertisers can expect from platforms and publishers to accept full responsibility for the content posted on their sites and to employ comprehensive and rigorous safeguards on which accounts and channels can host paid advertising. Advertisers agree to avoid investment in media at platforms that misuse and violate IP laws or at sites responsible for spreading fake news or misinforming the public.
3) Viewability Thresholds: Brands should be allowed to trade even when it goes against the viewability level that is supposedly appropriate for their business, which means including 100% in-view for full duration if desired. Advertisers understand that higher viewability standards could have an impact on their inventory supply and campaign reach.
4) Transparency throughout the Supply Chain: Complete transparency will be provided through the supply chain (digital or otherwise) covering pricing and trading, fees and costs, placement and data usage. Advertisers must respect the right of partners to be profitable and commit to relevant and fair levels of remuneration for services rendered.
5) Third-party verification and measurement as a basic: Self-reported data is simply not acceptable, for it is not reliable and so advertisers will need third-party verification that inventory is viewable, fraud-free, brand-safe and on-target. Advertisers agree to commit to prioritize third-party ad serving and verification companies that are audited and certified by the relevant industry-approved bodies.
6) Addressing “walled garden” issues: Data and technology should be separate to allow advertisers to use a third-party buying platform of their choice in all environments. Publishers and platforms must work together to create a solution that provides impression-level data with spend tracking companies to enable brands to track media spend in their category and competitive set.
7) Improving standards with data transparency: Advertisers work with partners to ensure data is as ethically and transparently sourced as possible and while also securely stored with appropriate assurance mechanisms, including audits. Data collection is a key factor in delivering a high-quality advertising experience for everyone.
8) Improving the user experience: It is no secret that the increasing amount of ads can be quite stressful for a consumer’s experience and that this experience can turn into a bad one in no time given that ads disrupt their work and interrupt content they are using. The solution to this problem? Simple! Advertisers and platforms can design more, newer and different commercial communication opportunities so that they are less disruptive. The outcome? By doing all of the above they will avoid intrusion and offer a better experience to the users.
Reviews & Results of the Charter
Justin Taylor, UK MD at Teads commented:
“It comes as no surprise that the WFA and advertisers are calling for an industry reform into the digital ad ecosystem. Since the start of 2017, we’ve seen reams of evidence that it’s almost impossible to guarantee brand-safe environments around user-generated content. On top of this, we’ve also witnessed businesses raising valid concerns around the definition of viewability, with some advertisers beginning to form their own standards.”
“Research we carried out found that CMOs at large brands in the UK have already made drastic changes to their digital marketing in response to the issues surrounding brand safety, transparency, and fraud – with 44% reviewing relationships with suppliers and 43% reviewing agencies. WFA’s principles and framework come as a natural next step to the actions that companies across the digital ad landscape have already started taking. This will no doubt encourage the industry to band together and ensure that we have the best destinations for brands to advertise on as well as strong measurement and verification practices in place.”
Ben Jankowski, Senior Vice President of Media at MasterCardand co-chair of WFA Media Forum: “As the market continues to change quickly, global brands are being more tangible and specific about what we expect from the entire ecosystem; our tech partners, agency partners media owners and digital platforms. The WFA’s Global Media Charter is designed to ensure that everyone has the same common understanding of what we all need to do to thrive. Everyone should join us on this journey.”
It is also quite clear that Jon Mew of iab.uk fully supports the WFA’s Charter as he has stated so through articles posted on their official website. He also pointed out that collaboration is a cornerstone belief of the IAB UK and he couldn’t agree more with Luis Di Como’s statement about quality and transparency being very important for clients.
Luis Di Como, EVP for Global Media at Unilever’s statement, “We must work collectively to drive quality and transparency for our consumers and ourselves as advertisers.”
In conclusion, it is quite evident that WFA’s Global Media Charter has a very big role in keeping both advertisers and the public satisfied. Many people agree and the importance of said Charter can not be questioned. What’s your opinion on this Charter? Do you think that it’s useful or not?
Bibliography and Further Reading:
https://www.wfanet.org/news-centre/global-advertisers-demand-reform-of-digital-ad-ecosystem/ [WFA Global Media Charter calls for agencies, ad-tech companies, media owners and platforms to work alongside advertisers to create a safer, more transparent, more consumer-friendly environment, Published May 17, 2018, in WFA Press Release]
https://www.wfanet.org/app/uploads/2018/07/WFA-Global-Media-Charter-2018.pdf [Global Media Charter Advertisers’ principles for partnership in the digital media advertising ecosystem, Published Jun 2018 in WFA]
https://www.wfanet.org/news-centre/globalmediacharter/ [WFA releases full version of Global Media Charter to reform digital ad ecosystem, Published Jun 21, 2018, in WFA Press Release]
https://www.wfanet.org/mediacharter./ [The Global Media Charter by WFA]
https://www.adworld.ie/2018/12/12/the-view-from-the-client/ [The View from the Client, Published Dec 12, 2018, in AdWorld]
https://www.businessofapps.com/news/leading-advertisers-launch-world-federation-of-advertisers-to-address-digital-ad-issues/ [Leading advertisers join World Federation of Advertisers to address digital ad issues, Published May 18, 2018, in Business of Apps by Anne Freier]
https://www.iabuk.com/opinions/collaboration-key-iabs-response-wfas-global-media-charter [Collaboration is key: IAB’s response to WFA’s Global Media Charter, Published May 18, 2018, in iab.uk by Jon Mew]